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Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 115-117

A Coarse Grained Model for DNA and Polymer Packaging: Statics and Dynamics

1Department of Physics, College of Science, PO Box 36, Al-Khod 123, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
2Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
3International School for Advanced Studies (S.I.S.S.A.) and INFM, Via Beirut 2-4, 34014 Trieste, Italy
4The Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics, 1 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3NP, UK

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a numerical characterization of the statics and dynamics of the packaging of a semi-flexible polymer inside a sphere. The study is motivated by recent experiments on the packaging of DNA inside viral capsids. It is found that the force required to confine the coarse-grained polymer is in fair agreement with that found in experiments for the packaging of the phi29 bacteriophage genome. Despite its schematic nature, the model is capable of reproducing the most salient dynamical features of packaging experiments such as the presence of pauses during individual packaging processes and the trend of the resisting force as a function of chain packed fraction.